Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Five Dollars

So, I'm working.
Lots of long days but this trip is going well. London is superb. I get back to the hotel last night with happy co-worker Shelly and John is sitting with two of our ladies and they tell me "something terrible has happened" and I think the worst, but what happened is one of our ladies got off a city bus and mistakenly left her purse behind - with everything. Digital camera, wallet, cash, credit cards, passport... everything.
She went to the police station, they shoved the standard flyer at her.. call the central transport office, tomorrow at 8:30am, if they have it they'll charge you a fee to get your item back. Nice, eh? Really nothing you can do. So many left items in such a big city. She's as upset as can be. I just hope we'll find it, as getting a new passport sucks ass.
Next day I call the transport office at 8:30, they tell me that it would go to the bus garage first, not central transport and to call Westbourne Park Garage at 10am. I call at 10am and tell her who I am, what I do and that one of my ladies left her purse on the bus, and the nice woman on the phone says, "Is it Mrs. XXXX?" I say YES! it is Mrs. XXXX! Oh my gosh! They have it! How wonderful.
Turns out someone on the bus found it, gave it to the driver who turned it into the office to nice lady I'm talking to. Nice lady realized it was an American and she had just been to New Jersey to visit family and everyone was soo super nice to her (I know, nice to her in Jersey?!? Really?) and she had made up her mind that she had to repay the niceness. She had to get this purse back to the owner. Nice lady had already called the US Embassy to try to track Mrs. X down before I had even called her.
Shelly and I made for the station, picked up her purse, thanked super nice lady a lot and went back to the hotel. I call Mrs. X and ask her to come downstairs. I run to my room and back again and she and her friend are sitting on the couch in the lobby, I hold up the purse and ask her if it looks familiar. She puts her hands over her mouth and her and her friend both start crying.
I explain the whole story and she asks what's there?
"Everything" I say. She cries harder and questions me, "Everything?" (stop crying, you'll make me cry!)
Everything is in there, your passport, your wallet, your camera, your credit cards, even your tape measure (they made us list the contents on a form). Everything.
She's so thankful to Shelly and I and the nice person on the bus who turned it in, and the driver who turned it in, and expecially nice lady at the Westbourne Park Garage who was determined to find her.
Mrs. X (the sweetest lady ever) says it was good deeds paying her back.
She tells this story... a few weeks ago she had gone to the store and she was in the checkout line and there was $5 on the ground and she asked the man in front of her if it was his, and he said he hadn't had $5 in years. She asked the cashier if it was hers, and the cashier said no and that she could not put it in her drawer, but told Mrs. X she could turn it into the service counter if she wanted. So, Mrs. X takes the $5 to the service counter and gives them her name and number and the service counter employee said that if nobody called for it in a week that Mrs. X could have it. Mrs. X said no, she could not keep the $5 because it was not hers.
A week goes by and service counter employee calls Mrs. X to tell her the $5 is hers - nobody had called looking for their missing $5.
What does Mrs. X do?
She goes to the store, picks up the $5 and then mails it to her favorite charity.
And this, she says, is why her purse came back to her.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn if that wasn't the most heart-warming thing I've read in a long time. I lost a camera skiing in Park City and some kind soul turned it in and I am eternally grateful (it was on loan). Great story.